Carlos Sainz has been tipped to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull next season, but it would only be for one year with Alex Albon “certainly” a contender for 2026 when his Williams contract ends.
Dropped by Ferrari in favour of signing seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, Sainz has found himself searching through the class ads for a seat on the 2025 grid.
Although it has been suggested for many months already that his future lies with Audi, in recent days he’s been linked to Hamilton’s Mercedes seat, while Eddie Jordan believes Red Bull is also an option.
Could Carlos Sainz replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull?
A former Red Bull junior, Sainz made his debut with their junior team, back then known as Toro Rosso, but missed out on a Red Bull drive as he went head-to-head with Max Verstappen for Daniil Kvyat’s seat in 2016.
Red Bull went with Verstappen, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sainz, though, could get his opportunity to drive an Adrian Newey-designed car next season with former F1 team owner Jordan saying a return to Red Bull would be a “natural progression”.
But he warned, it won’t last long.
While Williams have already issued a hands-off warning to rivals over Albon as team boss James Vowles confirmed the driver has a 2025 contract, Jordan says it may only be a matter of time before he returns to Red Bull.
“I mean, it’s a pretty disturbing situation to be told that you’re going to be replaced at the end of the year,” he told the Formula For Success podcast of Sainz’s situation.
“I have to remember that he came through the baby formula, he came to Toro Rosso, he’s yet another great example of a rookie there getting his first blood there.
“I would say the natural progression for him is to replace Perez, if that’s the situation. But nevertheless, I don’t know how long that would last for because I think Albon has to be a contender certainly for ’26.
“So it’s a difficult time for Carlos Sainz, an incredibly difficult time.”
If not Red Bull, then Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat
However, should Red Bull opt to continue with the beleaguered Perez, or even put Daniel Ricciardo in the car next season, Jordan believes Mercedes would be another good option for Sainz.
Although he’s made it very clear he’d like to see Toto Wolff turn to the retired Sebastian Vettel as George Russell’s 2025 team-mate, if that doesn’t happen Sainz would be a “great option”.
“So if Vettel wasn’t available for sure Sainz would be next up in that group, despite the fact that he’s not managed by Toto,” the former team boss continued.
“And sometimes that’s confusing. When you’re bringing in a driver who you manage like that there’s a conflict, whatever anyone would say, there’s a conflict of interest there.
“It’s a nice conflict. It’s great for Toto because he cops it on both sides of the deal. But at the same time, is it in the best interest for Mercedes? I don’t know. I’m sure he knows a million times more than I do about that.
“Carlos Sainz would be a great option, alongside Vettel.
“So I don’t think they’re in any great danger. And I do believe, nevertheless, that George needs a steady hand on the other car, somebody that he can talk to and discuss with as to how to make the car better.
“And I think George absolutely gained massively from his time at Williams to when you see what he was able to do at Mercedes, and I have to give Lewis some of that credit.”